Where is the Serious National Conversation about American Debt?

I really try to stay away from politics but I find that I just have to say something her, even if I just howling in the wilderness and nobody is listening.

Debt or at least the current and future debt of America has been much more prominent in the news lately.   It is always in the news, but people are actually, hopefully, starting to talk about addressing the issue in a serious manner.   I ran across these three pieces recently that address the issue and also talk about what America needs to do versus what it is doing.

  1. Niall Ferguson, The End of Prosperity?
  2. Fareed Zakaria, Are America’s Best Days Behind Us?
  3. Niall Ferguson, A Greek crisis is coming to America

When it comes to reform in America, our politicians are busy squabbling over crumbs because nobody has the courage to bring up entitlement and defense spending reform on the floor of Congress.   Where is the Tea Party on this?  Were they not elected to push for fiscal responsibility?  Nobody is talking about the four programs, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Defense, that amount to two thirds of Government spending.   They are squawking about cutting $100 billion when we are facing a deficit this year that is 16 times that amount.   Talk about fiddling while Rome burns.   I am writing my congressman and I hope everybody else is too.

I would gladly take a cut in retirement pay and benefits if I thought for a second that the folks in Congress would spend the resulting savings wisely.   Sadly, they have a proven record of not being trustworthy with the wealth of our nation.   Once again, this is an issue that the Tea Party could and should make their own.  It would certainly establish their fiscal bonafides would it not?  It is time to have some adults running the country instead of a bunch of children arguing about who has too many marbles.   The fact is, we all have too many marbles, or at least more marbles than we can afford.

The sad part of it all is that nothing significant will get accomplished until politicians stop worrying about getting reelected and start doing the country’s business.   It is pathetic that no sooner is one congressional election over that the news then starts being filled with talk of the next election.   This past fall, the ballots were not even counted when the talk began about what will happen in 2012 when President Obama is up for reelection and whether Republicans will then gain the senate.   Politico already has an election 2012 page, so does ABC and The Washington Post.   Is it any wonder that lawmakers are only debating symbolic measure like cutting $100 billion from a $3 plus trillion-dollar budget?  That is trillion, a one with twenty-one zero’s behind it or $1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.   That is a number so big it is unimaginable.

My big question is why people are not burning up the phone lines demanding that Congress do something?  If reform does not come now, people like my son and I can forget about ever seeing a dime in Social Security despite the fact that I have been paying into the system for 25 years.   It will be bankrupt.   Of course, politicians will kick the can down the road and engage in quick fixes that actually increase the structural imbalance.   Paying people now gets them elected and when I don’t get paid they will no longer be in office anyway.

It is imperative that the big “entitlement” (man, I hate that word) programs be reformed.   It will probably mean a reduction of benefits for both present and future retirees and recipients but rather that than the bankruptcy of the entire system.   That conversation is not happening on Capitol Hill though, only in the Opinion pages of a few newspapers and newsmagazines.   That needs to change.   Once again, where is the Tea Party in all this?

I highly encourage everybody to contact their Congressman and urge them to do something whether they agree with me or not.   The problem needs to be fixed, we are rapidly approaching a point where it cannot be fixed, just imagine the howls then when the country goes broke and we, the citizens, allowed it to happen.   The below links are for the official WebPages of the House and Senate to contact your Representative or Senator: House Contact Page, Senate Contact Page

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